Zimbabwe: Faith Matoyi

Zimbabwe: Faith Matoyi

Date: May 19, 2016
  • SHARE:

I Faith* can rightfully confess that the Gender Links entrepreneurship course made me realize my self-worth. I had always looked down upon myself because I felt I was a failure and good for nothing. Enrolling in the course in 2013 marked the beginning of a new era in my life, one which was made up of a woman who was confident and raring to go. After attending all the three phases of the course I shared the knowledge with my husband. I showed him all the allowances I got and told him I was going to save in order to start a business. He appeared very stunned at the new me and was very keen to see where all this was taking me. I presented my business plan to him and he was very happy and proud of me so much that he promised to give me more money to add to my capital reserve. Unfortunately, he did not fulfill his promise because he took another wife.

In January 2014 I went to South Africa and brought clothes for resale. All were sold out but on credit terms such that it has been difficult to keep afloat and continue with buying and selling. Some have not even paid up until now but I am grateful that I managed to soldier on and remained in business. The training helped me to be able to work with my own hands and stop relying on my husband. Before the training I used to starve if my husband did not bring anything home. My husband’s decision to take another wife did not affect me because of the training that transformed me into a new person.

I was selected through the council structures to be a participant of the entrepreneurship training programme. My councillor used to encourage me to take seriously the training which I did and yielded good results. The council once visited my place of business and they took some pictures but until now there is no feedback from them.

Ever since I started living upon the knowledge imparted to me by Gender Links my life changed and I am now able to dress myself and look presentable at all times. However, my husband kept on monitoring me and he did not want me to spend more time outdoors. It appears as if he is now jealous and decided to put stern measures on me as a way of limiting my success. The situation further widened the gap between the two of us but I am no longer concerned because I am now able to take care of myself. He always spends time with his second wife but to me it is a blessing in disguise as it gives me ample time to work on my business.

I have also noted a change in people’s attitude towards me. My relatives come to me for money which was previously the other way round. My in-laws are now showing a lot of respect towards me as evidenced by the frequent visits to my house. I find it very exciting to teach other women in my community who were not fortunate to be part of the Gender Links programme. They too respond very well to the verbal lessons and have found the knowledge useful in their small projects. This has taken my mind off things in a way that has uplifted my spirit and energy unlike in the past when I pitied myself all day long. I have now taken ownership of my life and I am working very hard to better my life. For some time now I have not asked for money from my husband and I just take care of my family’s needs from my little earnings.

I helped several survivors of gender based violence in my community through sharing my life story with them. Although my husband is still monitoring me and tells me whom to spend time with, my life is better off because of the economic empowerment I attained through working with Gender Links.

 If given the opportunity in 2030 to write my story I will be telling a much different but better story than the one I narrated today. My life will be changed because I have plans to pursue my education because I left school in grade seven. I now know that with education and relevant skills in life I will be a free and independent woman.